There’s a lot to be said for exercising out of the home (variety, interest, fresh air, instructors, high-end equipment, team sports, etc.) but there are also several good reasons for exercising at home (convenience, cost, family balance, privacy, etc.) and of course, pandemics create yet another reason to stay active while staying at home. So what equipment do you need?
Firstly, let’s make it clear that you can exercise with no special equipment. It requires some creativity (and probably some online research), but you can get a full body workout even with zero equipment (basic exercise clothing and footwear is not considered “equipment” and you do need comfortable exercise clothing). But a few pieces of gear can really help. So what should you consider?
- Floor mat – this gives you a clean padded surface for stretching and any exercises that involve sitting or lying.
- Skipping rope – skipping is an excellent cardio-workout and even if it takes a little practice initially, (almost) everyone can skip.
- Dumbbells – some simple weights can be used to build strength, improve tone, and more. This is great for men and for women but you will have to do a bit of “trial and error” to find the weight-set that challenges but does not injure you (tip: heavier weights & fewer reps for strength, lighter weights & more reps for tone and endurance) (second tip: get the type where you can add or remove weight as you need to).
- Resistance bands – these can be used in countless ways to create resistance and work muscles. They can also be used for stretching. They are cheap. Get a set with different levels of resistance and experiment with what works best (much like finding the right weights to use, you’ll quickly work this out for yourself).
This simple set-up will let you create all sorts of work-outs that are balanced, safe, effective, and fun. Other than the dumbbells it is all easy to transport so you can take your “home gym” almost anywhere with you. Of course you can add more variety with items such as kettle-bells, medicine balls, ankle and wrist weights, so by all means add things that appeal to you.
If you are more ambitious and if you have space and if you’re budget allows for it we would suggest you also consider items like:
- Stationary bicycle
- Balance ball
- Exercise step
- More weights
- Rowing machines
…although none of these is essential.
Home exercise is sometimes your only option and even when you have choices, a bit of home exercise is a great way to stay active. You do not need any equipment really but a few simple and inexpensive items can be very helpful here.